Democratic candidate Lawrence Lessig declared Monday that he is dropping out of the presidential race. In a YouTube video posted to his channel, Lessig said, “I must today end my campaign for the Democratic nomination and turn to the question of how best to continue to press for [the Citizen Equality Act] now”
Lessig began his campaign running to be a “referendum president,” an unconventional idea in American politics. The sole purpose was to promote and eventually pass the yet to be written “Citizen Equality Act of 2017,” a bill that he says would give voters an equal vote, equal representation, and would implement citizen-funded elections.
He previously claimed he would resign his presidency after passing this legislation, but later decided to retract the claim.
Lessig cited a recent change in the democratic debate rules as his primary reason for throwing in the towel.
Previously, the Democratic Party required candidates to receive at least one percent in three major national polls in the six weeks leading up to the debate in order to be included. The rules, according to Lessig, were changed last week to require candidates meet that threshold prior to the six-week mark.
According to Lessig, this meant that in order to qualify for the second Democratic debate, he would have had to be polling in three major national polls at the beginning of October.
“Under the new rule, unless we can time travel, there is no way I can qualify [for the next debate],” Lessig said in the video.
To date, Lessig hasn’t been included in very many major presidential polls and it was not until the last couple of weeks that his campaign saw hope that he might be able to qualify for the next debate.
“Two polls found me at one percent, one more and I would be in the second debate… under the original rule,” he said.
In fact, according to Steve Jarding, a general consultant for Lessig’s campaign, HuffPost Pollster found him at one percent in three polls, meaning that an argument could be made that he did qualify for the second debate. That is, until the rule change.
While he hasn’t ruled out the idea of running an independent campaign, Lessig stated, “Our only chance to make this issue central to the 2016 presidential election was to be in those debates.”